Archive | December, 2013

No Chingano Cumin en mi Chile Con Carne

11 Dec

For the purpose of repeating myself without sounding the dementia alarm, and por que the fog is lifting from a hazy 1Am post-work Netflixing of Dr. Who among the Aztecs – is that yage I in my Early Grey or did I actually hear Montezuma rock a limey accent? – I’m gonna add a dish to the ever-growing line of heritable North American foods (and bullshit): meatloaf, casserole, Thanksgiving stuffing + chili.

imagesChili, not of the pepper nor sauce variation, but good old hobo/Sunday football/everything in the kitchen sink strainer chili con carne.

2013: Chile con Carne is as much a part of our collective American DNA as credit card debt. Thanks to the Gods at Wikipedia, this was not always the case + for blog continuity/creditability sake + I just now learned there’s also a Chicago connection, proving yet again, all blocked arteries lead from Chicag0-style eating just as sure as the Chicag0-style mannuel leads to better grammar/syntax/citing than you’ll ever read/find/experience here.


Mira, the San Antonio Chili stand (I’m plagerizing now: take that grammar Nazis!) at the Columbian Expo (Google it) introduced visitors to this frontier staple which/that used to consisted of dried beef, suet, dried chili peppers and salt, which/that were pounded together, formed into bricks and left to dry, which/that could then be boiled in pots on the trail which/that likely kept pioneers from eating their horses, but sadly, not each other.


This all blogged, I’ve never ordered Chile Con Carne at a Mexican food restaurant, nor do I recall seeing on most menus back in Az called anything other than taco filling.

So I have to confess I’m straying from the usual Mexi-centric offerings, as to my mind, chile con carne, while colorado in color, is a plata a much whiter shade of brown than I usually care to eat.

Fact is, until this week, my newly retired chile con carne recipe hailed from Cincy. Cincy hobo chili is a blessed combination of spices equal parts masala and mole. The only variation I’ve ever made to my variation – and it’s not my family’s which is about as Texan as Dr. Who – which brings us to this post’s title and my, ahem, ‘beef’ with chile con carne en general: CUMIN.

Whenever I even smell cumin, that’s when I reach for my cliche about reaching for revolvers. (Oh, sweet THC, where is thy sting? By my phone? Car keys? Wha?)


Cumin, somehow, roughly translates for far too many North American chefs as “chili”. It’s as if the dominant flavor and odor is not of the cumin variety you might as well be serving tofu.

Newsflash: cumin is a umbelliferae, not a pepper.  Cumin hails from the Far East, not Latin America. Por favor: use it sparingly in your chili, or better yet: NEVER. Trust me, it’ll taste just fine. If not, then what you really have in that steamy calrdon before you is stew.


Mira, why don’t you instead next time try this mix, my Cincy/Mexichago mash-up which includes neither beef nor cumin:

Mexi-Cincy-Chago Chili Con Pavo Chorizo

Spice Blend: NM red chile powder, chipotle powder, NM Jilli Powder, dark red (cumin-free) chili powder from Jewel ethnic food section, ground cinnamon, unsweetened chocolate powder, columbia coffee grounds, salt, black pepper, Mexican oregano, and no fucking cumin. Blend according to your own personal heat/taste index

photo 2

Carne: turkey breakfast sausage*


(*the healthy alternative to kin and/or brick)

Cook: in butter and olive oil,  chopped onion and garlic. Crank up the heat and add sausage so that it sears upon hitting the sauce pan. Cook until brown, stir in spices, cook till aromatic, add enough water or stock to cover chile. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer forever.

photo 1

Ladle over pasta, Fritos/topped with cheese, sour cream, beans, hominy.

Pairs well with:

To Roux or Not To Roux….esta la pregunta

6 Dec

With the molten ooze of Rick Bayless at long last purged from my operating system  ’tis fine time to pass the 40 of Hatorade back to the Republicants and the original Angry Birds: Philly Sports fans, cheers:


and get back to the holiday cheer. Thanksgiving, a slowly dissolving L-tryptophan trip, deserves one last mention here. Because, really, the gluttony never really ends until we all sign up for a gym membership come January 1 of the new/next year.

Just as the pilgrims begat hat buckles which begat the one-size-fits-all adjustable hat the celebratory turkey begets a mother lode of leftovers. Everyone has their favorite sandwiches and pasta experiments. Enchiladas and casseroles too are fairly common fare. Ergo/hence the post’s title. Far too many of the recipes call for a roux. And I live (and may die) by the roux. All the years fumbling my way through and eventually tossing out soupy enchilada sauce after soupy sauce….anyway one never forgets one’s first successful roux; an alchemical moment worthy of the same pot-headed contemplation and reverence normally reserved for The Matrix.

With gravy still making a Lincoln Tunnel rush hour back-up of my arteries I broke from form and tradition and recipe instructions. Rouxless, I tried a couple things co-starring the spud that turned out so well I had to freeze these leftovers to keep from eating myself into a L-tryptophan coma.

Leftover turkey NC BBQ cheese friesIngredients: leftover turkey breast from Thanksgiving, leftover shredded store-bought cheese, leftover chopped fresh green chile from NM, leftover french fries from Wrigley BBQ, NC vinegar BBQ sauce also from Wrigley BBQ, leftover sour cream, leftover red chile powder from NM.

photo 1Instructions: Heat oven to 400. Stack ingredients. Cook ’till burbling or your home/apt/trailer fills with the aroma of the aforementioned ingredients.

Goes good with NFL.


Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Green Chile Triple P stew

(This is a non-roux variation on a recipe appropriated from El Pinto in NM  – replacing canned pinto beans with a freshly boiled batch.)

Ingredients: leftover Thanksgiving turkey breast, onion, garlic, NM green chile, chicken stock, butter, the 3 Ps: potatoes, posole, pinto beans.

photo 3Instructions: Saute chopped onion and garlic in oh yeah olive oil and 1/2 stick of butter. Add turkey, green chile and pre-boiled spuds. Chicken stock box. Salt, pepper, Mexican oregano to taste. Simmer for an hour. Serve topped with with pintos and posole, various dairy products. Lime.

Goes good with Flaco Jimenez:

Good bye.